The Bataan Death March was the forced march of over 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war from the Bataan peninsula to San Fernando in the Philippines. This atrocity began on April 9, 1942 and took the lives of thousands.
Read on to learn about the outcome and significance of this horrid event in WWII.
Battle of Bataan
During the Invasion of the Philippines, the Empire of Japan successfully overtook the city of Manila. This forced the Americans and Filipino troops to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula in what became known as the Battle of Bataan. From January 7 to April 9, these Soldiers successfully fought off the Japanese until General Douglas MacArthur ordered them to surrender due to a lack of resources. This became the largest surrender in history for the United States and the Philippines.
Death March Begins
The Japanese Empire then took the 75,000 troops (about 65,000 Filipinos and approximately 10,000 Americans) in groups of 500 – 1,000 and violently forced them to trek 65 miles from the Bataan Peninsula to San Fernando, Philippines. It’s believed that thousands of men were killed on this strenuous journey due to brutal abuse by the Japanese, disease, malnourishment, and harsh weather conditions. Colonel Dyess, an eyewitness that endured the Bataan Death March, said, “a Japanese soldier took my canteen, gave the water to a horse, and threw the canteen away. We passed a Filipino prisoner of war who had been bayonetted. Men recently killed were lying along the roadside; many had been run over and flattened by Japanese trucks. Many American prisoners were forced to act as porters for military equipment.”
Unfortunately, the destination, Japanese prisoner of war camps, was just as deadly as the journey — accounting for thousands more deaths.
Two years later, in October of 1944, the United States returned to the Philippines, and in 1945, they liberated the city of Manila from the Japanese Empire. One year later, Lieutenant General Homma Masaharu was convicted of war crimes associated with the Bataan Death March, and on April 3, 1946, was executed by a firing squad.
At US Patriot Tactical, we will forever honor the brave lives that were lost in the heinous crime known as the Bataan Death March and are grateful for the dedicated, strong leadership that brought freedom, liberty, and justice in the Pacific.